A Sewing Machine For Many Sewers
|November 22, 2004||in Product Reviews|
A review of
Are you serious about sewing? This might be the sewing machine for you. Early this fall, Pfaff released a new top-of-the-line sewing-only machine called the Performance 2056. This is an ideal sewing machine for the Confident Sewer because of its flexibility and options.
The Performance 2056 is also easy enough to use for the Utility Sewer who would be happy with just perfectly straight seams with no puckering. It also suits all those Creative Sewers who want to be more decorative without the extra cost and extra work of machine embroidery.
The Confident Sewer will appreciate its 207 nice stitches and 4 alphabets. By changing the preset sizes, you can make infinite combinations of decorative stitch sequences for your own unique designs.
The Performance 2056 has many utility sewing stitches for any kind of fabric to help art quilters sew many different weights and weaves together. With the decorative stitches, wearable art has many more possibilities.
The Performance 2056 has 16 hand-look quilting stitches to make your quilts unique to you, especially important if you are making a quilt in a classroom environment where most quilts look alike. I have always used decorative stitches in my quilts, helping people recognize my work. By adding decorative stitches and motifs, you can make a fabulous crazy quilt.
Integrated Walking Foot
Even though the Performance 2056 has so many options, the Utility Sewer will find it easy to use for regular straight-seam sewing. Just turn on the machine, put on the correct foot, engage the IDT system, and sew perfect patchwork.
The IDT system, which is unique to Pfaff, is a built-in walking foot. It helps the upper layer of fabric feed through the machine at the same rate that the feed dogs feed the lower layer of fabric. The best thing about the IDT is that it works with many different feet and most of the stitches.
Pfaff includes a patchwork setting in the Performance 2056 that measures the seam length of the first patch you sew and repeats that same length seam, complete with a tie-off stitch to keep the pieces from stretching and pulling apart at the ends of the seam.
I’ve found that I have been using this feature more and more since I’ve had to go back to reinforce seams in blocks. Using this method, blocks fit into the quilt better now that the seam ends don’t come apart.
Magic Presser Foot Setting
The Creative Sewer will love the ease with which you can select stitches, including all the information on foot choice, needle choice, and presser foot pressure. The Pfaff line of sewing machines has a wonderful free-motion foot that is very easy to put on. And there is a middle setting of the presser foot lever allowing the foot to ride above the fabric while free-motion machine quilting or sewing.
You can lift the foot to this magic setting manually, with the lever, or you can take the easy way by selecting the setting position of the foot on the screen. Both produce the same results. When it comes to getting ready to machine quilt, Pfaff sewing machines will win the race.
The Performance 2056 has a regular zigzag stitch, but Pfaff also includes a Z-zigzag stitch that gives a much nicer looking satin stitch. Unlike the regular triangle-shaped zigzag, the Z-zigzag stitch has the filling threads covering the advancing thread in a horizontal motion. Therefore, the Z-zigzag stitch gives a more finished, smooth look than the regular zigzag stitch.
Pfaff also includes several satin stitch designs, like leaves and flowers, to use for machine applique. I find these stitches useful in small borders on wall quilts to give them more interest without having to piece with tiny pieces. This German-made sewing machine is great for doing lots of machine applique and embellishing.
Pfaff has included a continuous sew-backward feature that I find useful when I want to reinforce. The Performance 2056 also has a “Sew Slow” button that reduces the sewing speed by half, which is very helpful when learning to machine quilt or for following a line on the fabric with the needle. These lines always come out more accurately when sewing more slowly because you have more time to react and correct.
Easy To Work With
The Performance 2056 has all the nice-to-have features. The needle-up/down function can be chosen by touching the screen or by tapping the foot pedal to move the needle to the proper position. I use the needle-down function when I’m doing free-motion work embroidery or quilting, and when doing curved piecing and curved applique work. This feature works well with the included knee-lifter.
The black and white screen, centered in the arm of the machine, is almost at eye level so you can see it without bending. The screen is nicely sensitive to the touch of a finger — you don’t have to touch the option several times before it takes. Pfaff also includes a black plastic stylus for choosing menu items.
Everything is easy to find using the buttons or by selecting items from the screen, including instructions for threading the machine and loading and inserting the bobbin in the bobbin case.
Surprisingly, Pfaff chose a wheel instead of a number on the screen to set the tension. This method has the advantage of showing the tension setting at a glance without having to choose selections on the screen to see the tension number. But it slightly reduces the number of micro adjustments that can be made to the tension settings. Nonetheless, I didn’t have any challenges getting the tension correct.
The only drawback of the Performance 2056 was when I tried to see the touch screen when there was a window behind me. It was a slight problem during the day, but it looked fine at night. I would put the back of the machine to the window so the screen is easier to see. This would give the added advantage of adding the window light to the needle area.
The Pfaff Performance 2056, with a MSRP of $2,799, is a real workhorse. It keeps running beautifully for hours on end on any kind of fabric and all types of thread. Sewers who do quilting, garments, and home decor should give this machine a test drive. You may just have to take it home.
I’d like to say “Thank you!” to The Constant Quilter in Andover, New Hampshire for letting me spend the day in their shop testing sewing machines. Linda Barnes and Cleta McCormick, the owners, offer fabrics, notions, classes, lots of service, and really make you feel welcome. This is a great place to shop. They are open six days a week, closed Mondays.
Special thanks to Cleta for her help and knowledge getting me set up to do this review.
You can find this great shop with great prices at:
The Constant Quilter
139 Pancake Road
Andover, NH 03216